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In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the GREENoneTEC website for information on how the company managed workers' rights in its supply chain.

Supply chain policy (poor)
A strong policy would include the following commitments: no use of forced labour, permission of freedom of association, payment of a living wage, the restriction of working hours to 48 hours plus 12 overtime (without exception), no use of a child labour (under 15 or 14 if ILO exempt), no discrimination by race, sex or for any other reason.

Stakeholder engagement (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to demonstrate stakeholder engagement, such as through membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative, Fair Labour Association or Social Accountability International. Companies were also expected to engage with Trade Unions, NGOs and/or not-for-profit organisations which could systematically verify the company's supply chain audits, and for workers to have access to an anonymous complaints system, free of charge and in their own language.

Auditing and Reporting (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to have an auditing and reporting system. Results of audits should be publicly reported and quantitatively analysed. The company should have a scheduled and transparent audit plan that applies to their whole supply chain, including some second tier suppliers. The company should also have a staged policy for non-compliance. The costs of the audit should be borne by the company.

Difficult issues (poor)
Ethical Consumer also deemed it necessary for companies to address other difficult issues in their supply chains. This would include ongoing training for agents, or rewards for suppliers, or preference for long term suppliers. It would also include acknowledgement of audit fraud and unannounced audits, and measures taken to address the issue of living wages, particularly among outworkers, and illegal freedom of association.

The website stated that its products were made in Austria using "highly automated robotic production lines". However the company did not have any publicly available information on any of the above four supply chain management categories. Therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Supply Chain Management and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

www.greenonetec.com (4 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Haier Group website, Haier Electronics Group website, and Haier Europe website for the company's conflict minerals policy.

Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The minerals in question are Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3TG for short) and are key components of electronic devices, from mobile phones to televisions.

Ethical Consumer expected all companies manufacturing electronics to have a policy on the sourcing of conflict minerals. Such a policy would articulate the company's commitment to conflict-free sourcing of 3TG minerals and a commitment to continue ensuring due diligence on the issue. The policy should also state that it intended to continue sourcing from the DRC region in order to avoid an embargo and that the company had membership of, or gave financial support to, organisations developing the conflict-free industry in the region.

The 2019 ESG report for Haier Electronics Group Co., Ltd contained a section on "conflict minerals management". It stated "We have introduced suppliers’ conflict mineral examination measures in the social responsibility section of the “self-commitments”, requiring all suppliers of GE brand product to comply with policies and develop relevant procedures to avoid procuring and using conflict minerals. Suppliers are required to provide written statement and policy and track the metal sources used by their components or modules to ensure that their procurements do not involve minerals from unknown sources or conflict minerals. In order to meet the requirement of Euro-American market on supply chain management and conflict mineral management, Haier’s suppliers that manufacture GE brand product have all passed through SRG (Supplier Responsibility Guideline) certification."

No more detailed conflict minerals policy could be found. The above statement was considered to not contain adequate assurances that the company met the aforementioned criteria for a strong conflict minerals policy. Therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its policy on conflict free minerals and lost a whole mark under the Habitats and Resources and Human Rights categories.

Reference:

Haier Electronics Group Co. ESG Report 2019 (2019)

In August 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed a report via the Business & Human Rights website, first published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in February 2020, entitled “Uyghurs for sale ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang”.

The findings of the report were summarized as follows: “The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.
In all, ASPI’s research has identified 83 foreign and Chinese companies directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through potentially abusive labour transfer programs as recently as 2019”. Candy was listed as one of these companies.

Business & Human Rights had contacted all of the companies named in the report and published their responses. At the time of writing, no response had been received from Candy.

As a result, the company lost half a mark under Human Rights.

Reference:

Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report: Uyghurs for sale (3 December 2020)

In August 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed a report via the Business & Human Rights website, first published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in February 2020, entitled “Uyghurs for sale ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang”.

The findings of the report were summarized as follows: “The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.

In all, ASPI’s research has identified 83 foreign and Chinese companies directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through potentially abusive labour transfer programs as recently as 2019”. Haier was listed as one of these companies.

Business & Human Rights had contacted all of the companies named in the report and published their responses. At the time of writing, no response had been received from Haier.

As a result, the company lost half a mark under Human Rights.

Reference:

Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report: Uyghurs for sale (3 December 2020)